Chris Cutalik runs the phenomenal D&D blog, Hill Cantons. A recent post over there featured this Frank Frazetta painting of John Carter putting the hurt on a trio of (what I think are) Black Martians.
|Dude. Black Martian Lives Matter.
Frank Frazetta is one of my favorite artists, for obvious reasons. Technically gifted, with a wealth of material painted for genre fiction, he paints what I see in my head when reading. Whether his style taps into my psyche or I see it this way because that’s how he showed it is irrelevant, the man is just a damn fine painter. The constrast in that painting, with the white building make a silhouette of John Carter, the composition of the work drawing the eye to John and around the space and back into the work, the implied action and ferocity of the battle, Frank is the real deal.
This is a self portrait of the man himself.
The jaded cynics out there will think, “Duh, of course he used himself as a model, he’s always available, it’s cheap, and it’s convenient.”
Well that’s just great. Do you walk around the malls come Christmas time throwing water on the dreams of children?
All I know is that, if I could paint like that, and if I had to pick a face for John Carter, you bet your sweet ass I’d use my own face. That’s rather the point of the books, isn’t it? To put you in John Carter’s harness and boots (and not much else)? To feel the sands of Mars and embrace of Dejah Thoris? Why wouldn’t an artist do the same thing?
No, I like to think that Frank Frazetta, a man who clearly paid attention to details and whose work is full of deliberate choices, made the deliberate choice to put his own face on John Carter. That’s exactly the sort of decision that dreamers and creative types should be making. It shows a level of passion and commitment to the form that is far more admirable than, “Meh, this’ll save a few bucks,” or worse, “This’ll prove how sensitive I am to current fashion.”